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Moonlight CR2 Dual Rate Tri-knob and Universal Install Kit


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I have been using an Orion XT10i for several years now. As much as I love the scope overall, focusing with the stock focuser has always been a pain. My scope came with a shifty and sticky rack and pinion focuser. I have tried adjusting and re-lubing it, but no amount of work would fix the problems I was having. After dealing with it for too long, I decided to replace it with something better. I chose the Moonlight CR2 Dual Rate focuser with 2” regular drawtube. I received my Moonlight focuser three months ago, and have been using it once or twice per week since then.

I ordered my focuser directly from the manufacturer at www.focuser.com. Shipping was quick and the item came well packed. The Universal Install Kit came with a curved adapter plate, 1", and 1/2" spacers used to attach the focuser to the telescope. It also came with all of the necessary bolts to install. It did not come with the necessary allen wrenches, or any installation instructions. It did come with several pages of product information, which was unnecessary, as all this information is available on their web site.

Fit and Finish

This focuser is beautiful. The anodizing is smooth and even. I chose the standard red, but it comes in other colors at no extra charge. The bright red really draws attention to it. At my first star party after installing it, I had more than one person take notice. Once installed, the focuser mounts clean and tight to the scope with no gaps; it really looks like part of the scope.

Installation

Installation was not difficult, but did take a bit of head scratching. The adapter plate had nine sets of holes tapped. This allows it to fit on a variety of different telescopes, but figuring out exactly which set matches your scope takes some work. There were several sets of holes that were close enough that they looked good when holding the plate to the telescope tube, but were far enough that I needed measure the tube to find an exact match. I would suggest removing the secondary mirror and laying the tube on a horizontal surface to avoid damaging the optics in case of a dropped screw. The focuser then screwed either directly to the adapter plate or used the spacers for additional height. Using only the 1” spacer gave me about ¼” greater in focus, and ¼” greater out focus than my stock focuser. Installation took me about thirty minutes.

Functionality

This focuser works wonderfully. With it, I am able to get precise focus easier than ever. The rough focus is a bit tight for my taste, requiring me to use all of two fingers to move it. The fine focus knob is perfect, I can adjust it with a light touch of a single finger. My eyepieces and accessories fit tightly in the drawtube with very little play. The 1 ¼” adapter has a compression ring, which makes undercut eyepieces a bit annoying to remove. My smooth barrel eyepieces go in and out just fine, but undercut eyepieces usually need to be wiggled a bit to remove.

Overall, I am very happy with this focuser; it is superior to the stock focuser in every way. The only negative I can find was the lack of any installation instructions. I had no problems with the installation, but some better documentation may help the technically challenged. I have no regrets about purchasing this and feel it was worth every penny. I would not hesitate to recommend it to anyone looking for a new focuser.




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